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Like most insurance, it’s easy to dismiss the value of travel insurance until you need to use it. Of course, by then, it’s too late. The purpose of this post isn’t to determine whether you should purchase travel insurance — that depends on many factors such as your destination, planned activities, medical history and the extent to which you’re already covered. Instead, we’ll look at some of the top travel insurance providers and policies.
Generally, travel insurance has two prongs: travel protection and medical coverage. As such, travel insurance can supplement the travel protections offered by select premium credit cards and/or the medical coverage provided by your personal health insurance.
In this guide, I’ll introduce some policies from top travel insurance providers. However, I can’t tell you which policy or provider is the absolute best, because that will depend on your wants and needs on a particular trip. Let’s get started.
The Best Travel Insurance Providers
For this guide, I selected providers that generally receive a positive rating from TPG Lounge members, provide adequate details about their policies and claims process online, are generally well-rated online and offer policies to residents of most US states.
Here’s a table with a quick overview of the nine of the best travel insurance providers:
|Providers||Type||Preexisting Conditions||Adventure Sports Coverage||Quote for 1-week Trip to Italy (basic/comprehensive)|
|AIG Travel Guard||Single trip (other plans available over phone)||Waived under set conditions||Can be added to some policies||$63 / $115|
|Allianz Travel Insurance||Single trip or annual plan for multiple trips||Waived under set conditions||No||$76 / $143|
|American Express Travel Insurance||Single trip — sold as package or build-your-own||Waived under set conditions||No, but few exclusions||$59 / $170|
|GeoBlue||Only medical. For a single trip, multiple trips or long term||Covered by most policies||No||$10 / $18|
|IMG Global||Single trip (travel insurance and travel medical insurance options offered) or long-term travel medical insurance||Waived under set conditions for travel insurance. Covered but capped for single trip travel medical insurance||Included on some policies, can be added to some policies||$11 / $122|
|Travel Insured International||Single trip||Waived under set conditions||No||$41 / $129|
|Travelex Insurance||Single trip||Waived under set conditions||Can be added to some policies||$61 / $80|
|Seven Corners||Single trip or annual plan for multiple trips||Waived under set conditions||No||$44 / $57|
|World Nomads||Single trip plans||Not covered for most benefits and no waiver offered||Yes, on one plan||$70 / $112|
Now, let’s take a look at each of the nine providers in more detail. For each I priced out a single-trip policy for a $2,000 one-week vacation to Italy on Oct. 19–26. If the provider offers multi-trip annual plans, I also priced out an annual plan starting on August 8. I used my actual age (33) and state of residence (Florida) when obtaining quotes, so you may see a different price — or even additional policies, since not all policies are offered to Florida residents — when you obtain a quote.
AIG Travel Guard receives many positive reviews from readers in the TPG Lounge who have filed claims with the company. AIG offers three plans online, which you can compare side-by-side and examine sample policies. Here are these three plans for my trip to Italy in October:
Travel Guard also offers numerous other policies — some of which cover multiple trips and/or cover adventure sports — but you must call to obtain a quote and information for these polices.
Normally, you won’t be covered for any loss or expense incurred as the result of a preexisting medical condition that existed within 180 days of the coverage effective date. However, the preexisting-medical-condition exclusion can be waived for some plans. For the Gold single trip plan, the exclusion can be waived if the following conditions are met:
- This plan is purchased within 15 days of initial trip payment
- The amount of coverage purchased equals all prepaid nonrefundable payments or deposits applicable to the trip at the time of purchase and the costs of any subsequent arrangements added to the same trip are insured within 15 days of the date of payment or deposit for any subsequent trip arrangements
- The insured is medically able to travel when this plan cost is paid
- The trip cost doesn’t exceed $100,000 per person (only applicable to trip cancellation / interruption)
Two of the three single-trip plans offered online cover children under 18 at no additional cost.
- The Platinum and Gold plans allow you to purchase an add-on that lets you cancel your trip for any reason — but you’ll only get 50% of your insured trip cost back.
- Travel Guard generally has fewer exclusions than many of the other providers. For example, the adventure activities that are excluded are relatively limited.
Allianz is one of the best-regarded providers in the TPG Lounge, with many readers stating that the claim process was reasonable. Allianz offers many plans, including the following single-trip plans for my proposed trip to Italy in October:
If you aren’t worried about trip cancellation and interruption protection, Allianz also offers a plan that doesn’t include these protections (so you don’t need to provide your nonrefundable trip cost):
If you travel frequently, it may make sense to purchase an annual multi-trip plan. For this plan, all of the maximum coverage amounts in the table below are per trip except for the trip cancellation and interruption protections, which are per travel insurance plan. And, the travel-delay protection provides up to $200 in reimbursement per day when you’re delayed by six hours or longer. All trips must be 45 days or less.
Most Allianz travel insurance plans will cover preexisting medical conditions that existed within 120 days prior to and including the purchase date of the policy if you meet particular requirements. For the OneTrip Prime plan, these requirements are as follows:
- Your policy was purchased within 14 days of the date of the first trip payment or deposit
- You were a US resident when the policy was purchased
- You were medically able to travel when the policy was purchased
- On the policy purchase date, you insured the full nonrefundable cost of your trip with Allianz. This includes trip arrangements that will become nonrefundable or subject to cancellation penalties between the policy purchase date and the departure date.
If you incur additional nonrefundable trip expenses after you purchase this policy, you must insure them with Allianz within 14 days of their purchase. If you do not, those expenses will still be subject to the preexisting medical condition exclusion.
Adding a second adult to most policies doubles the price. However, if you are traveling with a larger family and all live within one household, you’ll likely come out ahead by insuring all travelers on one plan. In fact, Allianz offers the AllTrips Premier policy that costs $450 for a year of travel insurance regardless of how many family members you insure. Interestingly, a single-trip plan for two adults actually costs more than a single-trip plan for two adults and a child (given the same trip cost).
- Allianz offers reasonably priced annual policies for independent travelers and families that take multiple trips of 45 days or less per year.
- The OneTrip Premier and OneTrip Prime policies provide the option to receive a flat amount of reimbursement without receipts for trip delay and baggage delay claims. Or, of course, you can submit receipts to get up to the maximum reimbursement.
- For Emergency Transportation Coverage, you or someone on your behalf must contact Allianz and Allianz must then make all transportation arrangements in advance. However, all of the OneTrip and AllTrips policies provide an option if you aren’t able to contact Allianz: Allianz will pay up to what it would have paid if it had made the arrangements.
American Express Travel Insurance offers four different package plans as well as a build-your-own coverage option. You don’t have to be an American Express cardholder to purchase this insurance. Here are the four package options for my sample weeklong trip to Italy. Unlike some other insurances, Amex doesn’t ask where you’re traveling.
Amex’s build-your-own coverage plan is unique in that you can purchase just the coverage you need. For most types of coverage, you can even select the coverage amount that works best for you.
The prices for the packages and the build-your-own plan don’t increase for longer trips. However, note that the emergency medical and dental benefit only covers your first 60 days of travel.
Normally, you won’t be covered for any loss incurred because of a preexisting medical condition that existed within 90 days of the coverage effective date. However, this preexisting-condition exclusion can be waived if you meet both of the following requirements:
- You must be medically able to travel at the time the policy premium is paid
- The premium under the policy is paid within 14 days of making the first covered trip deposit
No discount is given for children or families.
- Amex’s build-your-own coverage option allows you to purchase — and pay for — only the coverage you need.
- Coverage on long trips doesn’t cost more than short trips, making this ideal for extended trips. However, note that the emergency medical and dental benefit only covers your first 60 days of travel.
- American Express Travel Insurance can protect travel expenses paid for with Amex Membership Rewards points in the Pay with Points program (as well as travel expenses paid for with cash, debit or credit).
- American Express Travel Insurance doesn’t explicitly exclude most adventure sports. So, this policy may be a good choice if you participate in adventure sports that are normally excluded by other providers.
GeoBlue is different from most of the other providers described in this piece, as it only provides medical insurance for use while traveling. There are many different policies. Some require you to have primary health insurance in the US (although it doesn’t need to be provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield) and some only provide coverage outside the US.
There are two single-trip plans that cover travel for six months or less. The Voyager Choice policy provides coverage (including medical services and medical evacuation for preexisting conditions) to travelers who are 84 or younger and have primary health insurance.
The Voyager Essential policy provides coverage (including medical evacuation for preexisting conditions) to travelers who are 74 or younger, regardless of whether they have primary health insurance.
There are also two multi-trip plans that cover trips of up to 70 days each for one year. Both policies provide coverage (including medical services and medical evacuation for preexisting conditions) to travelers who have primary health insurance.
On the single-trip plans, children cost less than adults but otherwise there’s no discount for adding multiple people on your plan. However, on multi-trip plans, the second person added to the plan is less expensive, regardless of whether they are an adult or a child. For multi-trip plans, the third person costs more to add than the second person, but then there’s no additional cost to add a fourth person and beyond.
- GeoBlue can be an excellent option if you’re mainly concerned about the medical side of travel insurance. You may only need medical travel insurance if you already have travel protections like trip delay and baggage delay through purchasing your travel expenses with a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
- GeoBlue provides single trip, multi-trip and long-term medical travel insurance policies for many different types of travel.
- GeoBlue’s Voyager Choice, Trekker Choice and Trekker Essential policies all cover medical services and medical evacuation for preexisting conditions.
IMG Global offers various travel medical insurance policies for travelers, as well as travel insurance policies. For a single trip of 90 days or less, there are four policy types available for vacation or holiday travelers. Note that although you must enter your gender, males and females both received the same quote for my one-week search.
You can purchase a yearlong travel medical insurance policy, but these policies are rather pricey considering the rates shown below are monthly payments.
Most plans cover preexisting conditions under set conditions or up to certain amounts. For the two travel insurance plans shown above, preexisting conditions can be covered if you purchase the insurance within a set time of your first or final trip payment and if you are not disabled from travel when you make the payment. For the travel medical insurance plans shown above, preexisting conditions are covered for travelers under 70, but the coverage is capped based on your age.
All of the policies double in cost when a second adult is added, but adding one or more children isn’t as straightforward. The travel medical insurance policies increase in cost when a child is added, but the cost doesn’t double. The cost of one travel insurance policy doubles when a child is added, but the cost of the other travel insurance policy doesn’t increase at all with the addition of a child.
- The Travel LX policy from iTravelInsured provides benefits you’d expect, as well less common benefits like search and rescue coverage, up to 75% of the insured trip cost back when you cancel or interrupt your trip for any reason and coverage for non-medical evacuation.
- Adventure sports aren’t covered by the Patriot International travel medical insurance policies, but adventure sports coverage can be added by paying a 20% increase of base premium.
Travel Insured International offers three plans for a single trip, although you can add multiple destinations to a single trip.
Normally, you won’t be covered for any loss (besides emergency medical evacuation or return of remains coverage) incurred because of a preexisting medical condition that existed within 60 days of the coverage effective date. However, the preexisting condition exclusion can be waived for the Worldwide Trip Protector and Worldwide Trip Protector Plus plans if you meet the following requirements:
- Your payment for the policy and enrollment form are received within 21 days of the date your initial payment or deposit for your trip is received
- You insure all prepaid trip costs that are subject to cancellation penalties or restrictions and also insure within 21 days of the payment or deposit for those travel arrangements the cost of any subsequent travel arrangements (or any other travel arrangements not made through your travel agent) added to your trip
- You are not disabled from travel at the time your premium is paid
Adding a second adult to each of the three plans doubles the cost of the plan. Adding a child to the Worldwide Trip Protector plan doesn’t increase the price, while adding a child to the other two plans slightly increases the price.
- Travel Insured International’s Worldwide Trip Protector Plus policy allows you to cancel or interrupt your trip for any reason, as well as provides rental car protection.
- Travel Insured International’s Worldwide Trip Protector Lite policy is the least expensive basic coverage plan in this guide for the sample trip to Italy, yet it still provides relatively comprehensive coverage.
Travelex offers two single-trip plans: Travel Basic and Travel Select.
The two plans provide similar coverage, although Travel Basic offers less coverage in some areas and doesn’t include some types of coverage. For example, the following are offered with the Travel Select plan but not with the Travel Basic plan: sporting-equipment-delay coverage and the possibility of purchasing additional coverage that allows you to cancel for any reason. And, the Travel Basic plan covers trips up to 30 days while the Travel Select plan covers trips up to 364 days.
Normally, you won’t be covered for any loss (excluding any condition from which death ensues) incurred because of a preexisting medical condition that existed within 60 days of the coverage effective date. However, both plans offer a preexisting condition exclusion waiver. To be eligible for this waiver with the Travel Select plan, all of the following conditions must be met:
- This plan is purchased within 21 days of initial trip payment
- The amount of coverage purchased equals all prepaid nonrefundable payments or deposits applicable to the trip at the time of purchase and the costs of any subsequent arrangements added to the same trip are insured within 21 days of the date of payment or deposit for any subsequent trip arrangements
- All insured individuals are medically able to travel when this plan cost is paid
- The trip cost does not exceed the maximum trip cost limit under trip cancellation as shown in the schedule per person (only applicable to trip cancellation/interruption/ delay)
The Travel Basic plan has similar conditions that must be met, including that the plan is purchased within 15 days of the initial trip payment.
Adding a second adult to a plan doubles the cost if the trip cost is double. If you assume no extra trip cost, then adding the second adult only slightly increases the cost (to $82 and $111 for my sample one-week trip). Children under 18 are included free of charge on the Travel Select plan, whereas on the Travel Basic plan each additional person added $21 to my one-week sample trip regardless of their age if we assume the same total trip cost.
- Travelex’s Travel Select policy can cover trips up to 364 days, which is longer than many single trip policies. Plus, you can add-on additional types of coverage, such as cancel for any reason coverage or adventure sports coverage.
- Both Travelex policies don’t require receipts for trip delay and baggage delay expenses less than $25.
- For Emergency Transportation Coverage, you or someone on your behalf must contact Travelex and Travelex must then make all transportation arrangements in advance. However, both Travelex policies provide an option if you aren’t able to contact Travelex: Travelex will pay up to what it would have paid if it had made the arrangements.
The Seven Corners website is more difficult to navigate than the other providers in this guide, and the policies seem to differ more from state to state. However, Seven Corners offers some interesting add-on options on some policies, including the option to purchase extra insurance for ski or golf trips. Most policies also offer the option to add on coverage if you need to cancel for work reasons or if you need to cancel for any reason.
Here are the three policies that are most applicable to travelers on a single trip (note that RoundTrip Choice isn’t eligible for purchase by Florida residents):
Seven Corners also offers many other types of travel insurance, including a multi-trip annual plan. However, be aware that coverage on this annual plan (1) limits you to trips of 30 or 45 days in length and (2) only provides coverage outside your home country.
Normally, you won’t be covered for any loss (excluding emergency medical evacuation or return-of-remains coverage) incurred because of a preexisting medical condition that existed within 60 days of the coverage effective date. However, both plans offer a preexisting condition exclusion waiver. To be eligible for this waiver with the RoundTrip Elite plan, all of the following conditions must be met:
- Your payment or deposit for this policy and enrollment form are received within 20 days of the date your initial payment or deposit for your trip is received
- You insure all prepaid trip costs that are subject to cancellation penalties or restrictions and also insure within 20 days of the payment or deposit for those travel arrangements the cost of any subsequent travel arrangements (or any other travel arrangements not made through your travel agent) added to your trip
- You are not disabled from travel at the time your premium is paid
On a single trip plan, each person — adult or child — is charged the same amount if they have the same trip cost. On a multi-trip annual plan, a spouse can be added for half the cost of the primary adult. Children can be added to a multi-trip plan with two adults for no additional cost, or to a multi-trip plan with just one adult for $50 each.
- Seven Corners offers the ability to purchase additional ski and golf trip coverage on the Roundtrip Choice and Roundtrip Elite policies. If purchased, this extra insurance will refund your prepaid greens fees or lift tickets if you aren’t able to play at least nine holes of an 18-hole round due to weather or ski due to 50% or more of the trails being closed. Additionally, the extra insurance will refund rental costs if your checked sports equipment is lost, stolen, damaged or delayed 12 hours or longer.
- Seven Corners offers the ability to add-on cancel for work reasons or cancel for any reason coverage on the Roundtrip Choice and Roundtrip Elite policies. Although cancel for any reason coverage is offered by some other providers, cancel for work reasons coverage is much less common.
- Seven Corners’ RoundTrip Choice policy offers a political evacuation benefit that can be used to transport you to the nearest safe place or your residence under specific conditions.
- Seven Corners offers relatively inexpensive multi-trip coverage, especially for couples and families.
World Nomads tends to be popular with younger, active travelers because of its flexible coverage and its adventure activities coverage on the Explorer plan. Unlike many policies offered by other providers, you don’t need to estimate prepaid costs when purchasing the insurance in order to have access to trip interruption and cancellation insurance.
World Nomads offers two plans:
Unfortunately, nonmedical emergency evacuation is not available for residents of nine states (OR, NY, PA, NH, WA, MN, VA, FL, MO) and CDW is not available for residents of three states (NY, OR or TX).
You can purchase a plan for a trip up to 180 days — but these plans tend to be expensive. Here’s a quote for a 180-day trip with worldwide coverage:
You won’t be covered for any loss incurred because of a preexisting medical condition (except emergency evacuation and repatriation of remains) that existed within 90 days of the coverage effective date. Unlike many other providers, World Nomads doesn’t offer a waiver.
When you add a second adult to either policy, the price doubles, but if you add a child to either policy, the price increases about 3.5x. There are no additional costs after that to add other adults or children to the policy.
- World Nomads policies include more adventure sports than most providers, so most normally excluded activities such as bungee jumping and sports are covered. Plus, the Explorer policy covers almost any adventure sport, including sky diving, stunt flying and caving. So, if you partake in adventure sports while traveling, the Explorer policy may be a good fit.
- World Nomads policies provide non-medical evacuation coverage to residents of most, but not all, states. This coverage is for transportation expenses if there is civil or political unrest in the country in which you are visiting. The coverage will also transport you home if there is an eligible natural disaster or if you are expelled from a country.
This guide only presents nine providers with the information available at the time of publication but there are many options when it comes to travel insurance. If you want to quickly compare different policies, you can search on aggregators such as InsureMyTrip or Squaremouth. Just note that these search engines won’t show every policy, and you should still research the provided policies to ensure the coverage fits your trip.
Likewise, you can purchase a plan through various membership associations such as USAA, AAA or Costco. Each of the associations partners with a specific provider: USAA partners with Travel Insured International, AAA partners with Allianz and Costco partners with AIG Travel Guard. So if you are a member of any of these associations, you may want to compare the polices offered through the organization with other policies to ensure you’re getting the best coverage for your trip.
Not all travel insurance policies and providers are equal. If you’ve decided to purchase travel insurance, be sure to purchase one that’s appropriate for you and your trip. For example, if you plan to go skiing or rock climbing, make sure these activities aren’t excluded. Or if you’re doing two back-to-back trips during which you’ll be returning home for a short time in between, be sure the plan doesn’t terminate coverage when you first return to your residence (or within 100 miles of your residence, in the case of World Nomad policies). And if you’re looking to cover preexisting conditions, be sure to select a policy with a preexisting condition waiver — and purchase insurance within the required time period.
Featured photo by Sam Spicer / Getty Images of a female tourist in Khao Sok National Park in Thailand.
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